I was raised a child of public servants.
My mother and father were both in the military to be exact, and both retired as Colonels. Thus, my family was bound to do a lot of travelling as my brothers and I were growing up.
My family lived everywhere from Texas to Germany. Learning the ways of different cultures, and probably growing up much faster than most children would be expected to.
I swear up and down that this upbringing made the travel bug bite me but I also swear it made me more of a pacifist.
When I’m asked by people if I would ever consider joining the military my response tends to be a hearty laugh followed by a very abrupt “No,” that leaves no room for explanations.
Why do I say no? Because though I got used to the travelling lifestyle, and enjoyed the exploration of other places, I in no way enjoyed my parents being deployed for at least a few months to a year at a time.
The idea of knowing that your parents are “serving their country,” aka getting shot at in the middle of Iraq or Afghanistan never put my heart at ease. The idea of soldiers on either side being shot at, dying, leaving loved ones behind, and all the suffering is just more than I could handle. To me there are more peaceful ways to help people, more amicable ways of making a difference, and if that way exists then I’d rather give that a shot. If more people did, the world could move beyond the low standard of just “tolerating” other cultures.
With military parents my brothers and I could often find ourselves staying with relatives during these blocks of time our parents were overseas, be it our grandparents or aunts and uncles. There were even a few nannies to cover down when my parents worked long nights, and year long occasion where my older brother became our legal guardian when he was just 18.
Growing up in that type of environment you either mature quickly or you spend all your time complaining about how your parents were never around. My brothers and I were the type to mature quickly but unlike them I gained a love for travelling.
Getting to move all around the United States, learning German at the source, and being a little ambassador in training, I had one interesting childhood. It turns out that I was being prepared for the Peace Corps and a life of development work – or at least that’s how I feel about it.
I was raised a child of public servants, and I intend to continue that legacy.